LOS ANGELES: Bill cosby sexually assaulted a teenage girl at the Playboy Mansion nearly 50 years ago, a California jury found Tuesday, in the first civil verdict against the veteran entertainer after dozens of indictments.
Judy Huthnow 64, was awarded $500,000 in damages after a jury in Santa Monica found Cosby had molested her in 1975 when she was just 16 after meeting her on a film set and giving her alcohol.
The case is the only successful legal action against Cosby, 84, who has been accused of using his fame to prey on women for several decades.
The man formerly known as “America’s dad” was jailed in Pennsylvania for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in a separate criminal case in 2018, but was released last year when his conviction was overturned on a technicality.
During a two-week civil hearing, which Cosby did not attend, attorneys said he accompanied Huth and her then-17-year-old friend, Donna Samuelson, to Hugh Hefner’s mansion after meeting them on a film set.
The jury heard how when Huth was alone with Cosby, the actor began to kiss her and tried to put his hands inside her clothes.
They were told that he allegedly dropped his pants and forced her to perform a sexual act on him.
lawyer Nathan Goldberg She said that for many years Huth had repressed memories of the assault, but for her it came to light when other women began accusing him of assaulting them.
“It was like a cork coming out of a bottle,” he said. Goldberg at the beginning of the case. “The memories surfaced…she was overwhelmed by the memories of Mr. Cosby and what she had done.”
He originally filed his lawsuit in December 2014, but the case was put on hold while several criminal investigations unfolded.
A videotaped statement from Cosby taken in 2015 was shown at the civil trial in which he denied assault and insisted he would never engage in sexual activity with an underage girl.
His attorneys made a big deal out of apparent discrepancies in Huth’s story, including that both teens spent up to 12 hours at the mansion after the alleged assault.
They also argued that Huth originally claimed the attack happened in 1974 when she was 15, but later said it happened the following year.
The case was never criminally prosecuted as the statute of limitations had expired when Huth spoke to police.
California law allows adults who say they were sexually abused as minors, but have only recently become aware of the harm, to file civil cases years after the statute of limitations would normally have expired.
Cosby was a towering figure in late 20th century American popular culture, rising to fame as the affable obstetrician and father Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984 to 1992.
But about 60 women, many of them once aspiring actresses and models, have publicly called Cosby a calculating serial predator who plied his victims with sedatives and alcohol to sleep with them for four decades.